Our Frugal Lifestyle

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Passionate about eco-frugality. I used to party hard, clubbing my way from pay-packet to pay-packet. Never getting ahead, just getting by. Then came our much wanted baby with no savings in the bank - only an old car. Changes were made to our lifestyle and we didn't turn back. In the past 6yrs we purchased a flat, found employment, lived below our means, built an emergency fund, purchased a reliable car and saw the financial benefits of our frugal lifestyle. Our only debt is our mortgage. Our aim is to manage our cash flow wisely, pay off our home quickly and eventually work for pleasure, not necessity. Join us on our journey, share insights, tips and tricks to help us and others to get ahead while having a good time.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Gifting Babysitting

As I have said many times gifts of time are gifts well worth giving.

Tonight I babysat for a young couple we know with a eight week old baby. A four hour sit while they went off and enjoyed a music festival just a few minutes walk from my home. The mother was very nervous to hand over her baby to me, I could see the flash of panic in her eyes as this was the very 1st time ever for her to do so. I reassured her as best as I could and let her know she could call me every few minutes as I completely understood her anxiety.

The babysitting went smoothly. I held the tiny baby in my arms for the four hour duration. It seemed not so long ago that my girl too curled her warm little body tight up on my shoulder, cooing and smelling so sweet. What a privilege to hold a being, so small, so new and so innocent.

Now... a babysitter in my town costs on average $15 an hour. A four hour evening out would come to $60. That's a lot of money for a young couple just starting out. Usually people rely on family members for that extra support, however in my highly transient town many people do not have family networks in close proximity. Family are most often, thousands of kilometers away.

So tonight when the young parents asked how much I would charge them, I let them know it was a gift on my behalf to celebrate the new addition to their world. I think it can become problematic when you charge people you know for your time. A personal moral issue as friends should be helping each other out without an expectation of money exchanging hands - a community. However many of us know friends that take. take. take. and very rarely give back in return. They burn us out and encourage us to be wary of others that may need our hand. When it's not an outright gift of time event, I think it could be a practical idea to barter a skill friends might have; an experience they might be able to offer or also their time. This way everyone is a winner and there is a sense of equal sharing while getting ahead.

Have you given your gift time or swapped time for skills or experiences with friends lately? I'd love to hear your stories.

Stephanie @ Frugal Down Under.


  1. Stephanie your lovely post restored my faith in human nature.

    1. Thanks Pigsmightfly, It's important to me to give and to show people we should all help and care for each other. We should be linked together and work to help each outside of the cash economy as much as we can. Sometimes I feel burnt out and brainwashed by capitalism and get caught up in earning more money. However if I think about it most of my best experiences in life were not part of the cash cycle.

  2. Thank you for posting this. You show the right attitude for making the world a better place. Baby sitting is an honour not given to many. The offer of receiving many phone calls is an excellent one. Be careful though as these days there are many legal problems associated with being in charge of a child. Readers from other countries may not know about Working With Children Clearance Cards and the huge fines for non-compliance.

  3. Professional babysitters and others working with vulnerable groups in most states of Australia like many other countries require working with children clearances which is basically a police check. Not all states though. And most are checks that are valid from 1 to 5 years instead of a "point in time" check when you apply for employment. Which can be a very scary thought as clearance check can be taken on face value. However casual sitting for family and friends or a parent volunteering at a school does not require this in my state. Neither does a non resident of my state volunteering less that 14 days or a person who provides accommodation for a child in their private residence for no more than 7 consecutive days. So even if some of the laws are strict I find that the flip side is very lax.

    Having worked in the education, welfare and nanny fields for many years previous to my current position I would be wary of any so called "clearances" and try to do as much homework on the person that I can on top of the clearance card. I really believe the clearance card is not enough to give your full trust in someone. References need to be checked, people need to be asked the hard questions and if you can - Do a Google and Facebook search. I know I sound over the top - but unfortunately many people who abuse, work in the industries where they have access to people they can abuse.

  4. You're right about Police Checks. They are now sought for those people working or volunteering with vulnerable people or groups.
    I have been a Justice of the Peace for many years and sadly Police Checks are not worth the paper they are printed on.


Thanks for commenting - I love getting feedback, sharing experiences and learning from you.